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The Halloween Costume Contest is an event everyone in Chrisman looks forward to, but for the Hoult family, it was a special time.
Asa Hoult was known for her spectacular costumes for a number of years in the contest. “Everybody was asking what Asa was going to be and I would tell them you’ll have to wait and see,” her mother, Angela Hoult told us.
“When I was younger, my family didn’t have much, so we just made our own costumes,” Angela said.
Making costumes for her kids started when her daughters Haley Hoult and Madisyn Norman were in first grade. The girls said they wanted to be princesses. Angela and her husband Paul, went out and bought the hoop dresses. There was just one more surprise the girls had for their parents.
“We put the dresses on them, then they said they wanted to be dead princesses,” Angela said. “So we got fake blood and put it all over their dresses and painted their faces up. They loved it.”
The next year, Madisyn wanted to be a werewolf. When she was in fourth or fifth grade, Madisyn had a request that came out of nowhere. She wanted to be Pennywise.
“We thought that’s a little extreme. She hadn’t seen the movie and I was wondering where she got it from,” Hoult said. Later on, Angela found out that Madisyn learned about Pennywise through her father.
The clown clothes were bought, but the next step was figuring out the hair. “We got one of those bald caps and I pulled her hair through in circles and colored it red”. Though the costume was complete, it seemed to be missing something.
“I told Paul, she has to have real helium balloons,” Angela said. “I wanted her to walk around and for people to walk up to her and get a balloon and see her face.”
When their youngest daughter, Asa, was old enough, she chose ‘The Queen of Hearts’ from ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
“She was just in it, she would become the character,” Hoult said. “She would purse her lips so you could see the heart. She would twirl and say ‘off with their head’. That’s when it started.”
After the first contest, Angela began encouraging other parents to make their own costumes. The years following, more and more parents began making their kid’s costumes. To follow up the Queen of Hearts, Asa was ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with Durham Switzer as ‘The Mad Hatter’.
“It just kind of got to the point where when as soon as Halloween was over, Asa and I would decide what she was going to be next year,” Angela said. “She would pick a lot of times herself. She loved being villains, then it would just morph into all these ideas.”
In 2014, Maleficent was released and Asa had her costume. Then she was Ursala from ‘The Little Mermaid’. One of the more challenging costumes was ‘The Other Mother’ from ‘Coraline’. Asa’s costume had spider legs that had to move when she walked.
“I told Paul this is what I want to do, but I need you to help me figure out how we’re going to make it work because they can’t be dragging,” Hoult said. “It couldn’t be like that in my head. It had to be over the top”.
A lot of the material for the costumes have been bought from Goodwill or second hand stores. When she was ‘The Corpse Bride’, Angela found an old wedding dress at Goodwill. “It must’ve been a 2xl and I just changed it all to fit Asa’s little body,” Angela said.
The next step was to make the dress looked burnt. When she told Paul that she was going to set it on fire, he was a bit skeptical. “I told him if I mess up, I’ll start over,” she said.
In her final year of the contest, Asa, Angela and Paul put eight months of work in. “I asked her what do you think about ‘The Junk Lady’ from Labyrinth,” Hoult said. “Her eyes lit up”.
The Junk Lady is one of a race of Junk People in the movie Labyrinth, and she attempts to make Sarah (main character) forget her quest by playing her with her own possessions.
By the end of construction, the costume was heavy.
“The thing weighed like two hundred pounds, she couldn’t carry that on her back,” Hoult said. The costume was built around a trashcan on wheels.
Every piece was hooked onto the trashcan and held in place with zip ties. “We made it to where it looked like she had this giant humpback. She almost looked like a giant snail.”
Nothing of the heavy costume was actually touching Asa.
The only thing that was was the shaw and backpack straps to make the costume comfortable.
“We hooked the backpack to the trashcan and she had these two rails that came out so no one could see. They went along with her arms so she could help pull it while she was walking.”
The time put into each of the costumes varied from a matter of weeks to months. For the Ursala costume, Angela made all of the tentacles as well as Flotsam and Jetsam.
“Everything was hand sewn. I didn’t use a sewing machine. I don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to the sewing parts unless I’m hand stitching.”
The most time consuming costumes were Ursala and ‘The Junk Lady’.
As Asa began to get older, she decided to step away from the costume contest.
“It was about being creative and inspiring others to be creative.”
Now that she’s a freshman in high school, Asa has shifted her focus to Scare on the Square and Trunk or Treat.
“She’s thinking about doing the haunted house this year. She’s really excited about it,” Angela said.
Last year, Trunk or Treat was canceled due to COVID. Asa and Angela’s plans were to be Wayne and Garth from ‘Wayne’s World’.
Paul had made a giant world out of plywood and had ordered a cloud backdrop to hang from the trunk. “She had the hat, jean jacket, shirt and ripped jeans. It wasn’t near as extravagant.”
With her kids all grown up and being a grandmother, Angela is looking forward to making costumes for her granddaughter.
“We’re kind of shifting gears to what kind of costumes I can make for her,” Angela said. “I get to start over, but I think we’ll always go big for Trunk or Treat.”